ICYMI: KNOE: Broadband Investment Bringing Excitement, Hope to Lake Providence

Yesterday, KNOE aired a story on Gov. John Bel Edwards’ announcement earlier this week in Lake Providence of a $130 million investment from the American Rescue Plan to expand broadband access statewide.  

Watch the full video from KNOE here and read their story below:

Broadband Investment Bringing Excitement, Hope to Lake Providence
By Tyler Englander

“On July 25, Governor John Bel Edwards announced a $130 million investment in broadband internet, including $4 million for services in East Carroll Parish.

The prospect of high-speed connectivity is bringing excitement to a place once cited as one of the poorest places in America.

‘It’s difficult on days, so the broadband is much needed,’ explained Lake Providence attorney Janna Messina Kiefer.

The money will go toward connecting close to 900 addresses in Lake Providence, ushering the way residents work into the 21st century.

‘You take it for granted, having internet,’ Messina Kiefer told KNOE. ‘In a big city, you just expect it, but when you come to these rural towns, it’s just a disadvantage. So I think it will be great for Lake Providence and its growth.’

Messina Kiefer works as a criminal defense attorney. She says she has lost signal several times during zoom hearings for clients.

‘It goes flat. I’m just sitting there. It’s terrible,’ said Messina Kiefer. ‘Then I have to try and jump back on, and I have to text the ADA and say, I just can’t get the internet.’

Lifelong Lake Providence resident Cermisha Wilson received satellite internet at her home for the first time last month. She says reliable, hard-working broadband will allow her to spend more time with her grandkids and care for herself.

‘School is about to start. That is going to be a plus,’ said Wilson. ‘They can always come to Granny’s house and do their homework instead of rushing home every day. All of that. My prescriptions, doctors appointments, transportation scheduling, I can do all of that online now.’

Wilson adds reliable internet connection could attract more business to Lake Providence, giving her grandchildren a chance the opportunity to stay closer to home.

‘They won’t have to move away after graduating,’ Wilson told KNOE. ‘If all of this comes together as planned, a lot of people would probably move back home instead of venturing off to other states.’

Gov. Edwards said Monday the service should be up and running in 14 to 15 months.”

Read the Governor’s press release on the announcement here.